The Book Without Words by Avi – Book Talk
It is not too often that we get the chance to ask the author of the book we’re reading a question . . . or two . . . or more.
This week, you will have the opportunity to ask Avi questions. Avi is author of such wonderful novels as Nothing But the Truth, the Newbery Award (2003) book Crispin: The Cross of Lead, and the book we are reading now, The Book Without Words.
Although Avi is very busy, he has agreed to stop by to participate in our quest to understand him and his work. He will answer any questions you may have about his novels, questions specific to being a writer, anything.
One thing though. Nothing is more painful in a discussion than repetition. Please check to see if your question or curiosity has already been posted. Please try to avoid being redundant. Have fun.
Here’s how it works:
- You post your question.
- Report back here to find the answer posted in the thread.
So, go ahead, ask him a question . . . .
Is it hard to become an author?
yeah, mr moshe, i messed up on the first comment, so delete it please?
Although I’m not the biggest fan of your writing, I do admire how you never keep into one specific genre.
“The Book Without Words” is extremely different from “Nothing But The Truth”.
My question is why? Why not like most authors, keep to the same genre?
Many of the posts are about writer’s block, but how about self-conscious writers (I hope I spelled that right.). I have been told I write a good story, but there are times when I don’t really want anybody to read my work.
There are some issues I write about in my stories that I’m scared people would not like. And as with many of my stories I stop writing. I never get to an ending.(this is even with books without sexual content.) I know this is a problem that I alone do not have, but how do I solve this problem?
most of my stories are about enslaved people.
Another question, most of my stories are beginning to turn out the same, how do you manage not to mix up your stories?
Loving The Book Without Words so far.
Ahaha… I must say that your dog is quite funny. Yay for cookies! My hamster loves noodles herself.
Well, well, well… what to ask? Might I say that it is very inspiring and, well, I feel excited that I get to atleast say something to an author who has done so well! The most important question that I must ask you: Is it weird to read a thesaurus just for the heck of reading a thesaurus? I find it a key element in gathering up more words for my vocabulary. I’m currently reading the ‘p’s, but there’s no need to mention that…
Incase you haven’t noticed, I am planning on publishing something in the future! I’ve already written many unnoticed stories, from under 1000 words to over 40 chapters. The Book Without Words, however unfortunate, is the only thing I’ve read thus far from you, but I must take the time to tell you that I love your word choice! One of my faults is that I cannot express really anything clearly. It all comes together perfectly in my mind but not on paper. Did you ever have problems wondering if things were expressed clearly enough for readers?
I also have a problem with plot. Based on your wise words on writer’s block, I believe that my lack of plot-making skills is just that–writer’s block. I found out that many times the plot comes along as I write. Has that ever happened to you? Did you ever at one point just go along with it and let the story unfold as it progressed?
Once again, I have not read any of your books besides the Book Without Words, which we’re still reading in class. What genre do you consider yourself mostly fitting, if any at all?
I find creating the characters and picking the setting the easiest when writing something new. What do you find is the easiest when writing?
“Writing begins with reading, reading, reading, reading and then some more reading, until your head thinks like a reader (not a writer). Remember, a writer writes reading, not writing.” This quote from you reminded me of something else. I have to listen to music when writing something, and a lot of times what I write is conjured up from thousands of ideas from other books and video games and anything else I have my hands on during the day. Is it okay to take ideas from others if the idea is expressed in your own way? Have you ever taken small thoughts from another author to write something of yours? I don’t mean copy.
Oh goodness… this is longer than I wanted it. You see? I rant and I cannot stop writing when I start. It’s a curse, I tell you! Well, I’ll stop here for now just in case you don’t reply. Please say you do!
The question I have for you is: Where do you get the ideas for the characters and their names?
Did u sit and think of them or did you get them from people, places or somethings that you know? Did they come from famous people in real life that had the same role, in life, as them in the book?
I have recently finished reading your book ” The Book Without Words” in my Language Arts class.
We all enjoyed it and had much fun playing roles.
We had discussions on how you came to write the book in such a new way.The way you showed all aspects of the characters. By pointing out their point of view in different excepts of writting.
Your style is always creative and new.
My question is How did you come up with this intresting method of writting?
to start off i must say you are a very talented author, and you should be proud of your accomplishments. i have a question though: did you always want to be an author? and where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
thank you ,
Well the ending was kind of ironic. Alot of trouble was caused to prove “Phillip” was being “patriotic”, and in the end he cries because he doesnt even know the words to the star spangled banner. So much for patriotic. Its kind of a comedic irony, in a way. Well, thankyou.
Why did you put so many proverbs in The Book Without Words? Does it have something to do with the timezone of the story or did you just want to do something different? Also, I thought you should know that I enjoyed reading Nothing But The Truth but what was the main character really doing? Was he humming or singing. He probably couldn’t be singing because at the end he says that he doesn’t know the words. That was a very unexpected ending, but I liked it because I thought it was funny how after the big deal he made about not being able to sing the Star-Spangled Banner, he didn’t even know the words. It was a good idea for the book though because it makes you think that there can be so many different sides to a story and what you think happened may not really have happened.
Thank you for visiting the blog,
Thank you for responding. I like to write stories and everyone thinks I’m going to be a writer when I get older. Did your friends and family say the same thing about you when you were a child? Even though I enjoy writing, I don’t want to turn it into a job. In my opinion, I would lose interest in it. Did that happen to you when you started your career as an author?
We are enjoying your book, “The Book Without Words.” It is really interesting. It is by far one of the best books we have read. In class while reading this, we get so hooked, that we just don’t want to let go. We would like to give our deepest thanks, and good luck in the future.
-Sarah & Ashlyn
Hello Mr. Avi,
I’ve tried to write stories, but that didn’t work out so well. I could write O.k poems, but thats about it. It’s truly inspiring to see that you love writing so much as to write so many books. Personally I’d write about twenty pages of a story, and then I’d slack off and forget all about it.I was wondering what was your weirdest dream? And did any of your dreams inspire you in the writing of any of the books you’ve written
Hello Mr. Avi,
I’ve tried to stories, but that didn’t work out so well. I could write O.k poems, but thats about it. It’s truly inspiring to see that you love writing so much as to write so many books. Personally I’d write about twenty pages of a story, and then I’d slack off and forget all about it.I was wonering what was your weirdest dream, and did and of your dreams inspire you in the writing of a book ?
thank you very much for responding to my question. I have been suffering a case of writer’s block since 6 grade, now I am continuing with my novel. When I publish my first book (when I turn 18) I’ll surely thank you in the intro! Please continue composing wonderful collections of literature.
Thanks a lot,
What inspired you to write The Book without Words? I loved the book. I had to buy a copy so that i could read it at home. Also, do you have any tips for a beginning writer? I look forward to see your response.
As an aspiring author, I can’t tell you how much I admire your writing style. I have read Crispin:The Cross of Lead, Nothing But the Truth, Midnight Magic, and of course, The Book Without Words, along with some others that I have yet to remember. I am working on a fantasy trilogy, and I often become frustrated by writer’s block. I feel that I don’t put enough detail into my writing sometimes, and that my dialogue can be stiff and unconvincing when I actually mean for it to flow and sound natural. On occasion I just give up completely and resolve to work on the book when I am much older and better educated, so I have a better chance of getting published. I want to know: what is your opinion on books written by teens? And also, how do you think up dialogues between characters?
Thank you for answering my question! You are much appreciated.
Sorry to have taken so long to respond. I travel a good deal, have a very active family life, and even try to write. You good people need to know that from March 13-26th I will be in Japan, visiting a school.
Anyway, here are responses to your questions:
1. Teresa: I’ve been writing for more than fifty years, so these days it is something of a habit. Telling, writing stories is what I do, the way my mind breaths, my eyes see, my mouth speaks. It’s also the way I earn my living and support my family–not a small part of my life.
2. Jeff: Glad you like my books! People speak of writers’ block in different ways. If it is question of be puzzled by what should happen next, or why a book is not working, that’s just the day to day struggle of writing. A more serious form of writers block comes about when the writer can’t write at all. That’s a very complex matter and is a form of depression. I think it happens when the writer becomes fearful of writing what is for him or her, the truth.
I’ve published more than sixty books.
My idol is my dog, McKinley. He’s patient, loyal and loving. (and he loves cookies) not a bad mix.
Writing begins with reading, reading, reading, reading and then some more reading, until your head thinks like a reader (not a writer). Remember, a writer writes reading, not writing.
3. Amanda: see above about writer’s block. How to deal with it as a day to day problem? The writer’s job, Paula Fox once said, is to imagine the truth. Think of the reality of the characters and their situation. Write, not what you would do, but what they would do. In other words the more you know your characters the easier it is for you to write out what they would/should/could do.
4. James: Nothing but the Truth came out of visiting many schools. Do you know about the teacher’s room, where your teachers go to take a break? Where students are not allowed? Put on your cloak of invisibility and hang out there: you’ll be amazed what you hear. When I visit schools that’s where I love to be. But nothing such as happened in Nothing But the Tuth happened to me.
5.Nichole: Glad you liked Midnight Magic. I read all the time, both fiction and non-fiction (mostly history) I watch very little TV. I find it very very very boring. A good book is soooooooooo much better! See above for words about writers block.
6. Nia: Actually, if you go back through the book, you’ll see that Philip never actually sings the words of the song. I suppose you had best think of the ending as ironic.
7. Paras: See notes above about writers block. What you all need to know is that writing is very, very hard. That’s true for everyone. Even professionals like me. So when you struggle (writers block?) that’s just the way it is.
As for stopping your writing, that’s okay. Remember, you need to become a writer before you become an author. Which is to say writing is something you either enjoy or not. The part you have to come to enjoy most is the REwriting. Just note that before I’ve finished a book I’ve rewritten it maybe 60-70 times! Nobody, nobody, nobody, ever writes anything very well in the first draft!
8. Storm: Glad you liked Crispin. The sequel, Crispin at the edge of the world, has just been published.
I became a writer because I loved to read.
I love your books. I read Crispin: the cross of lead and it became my favorite book. Are you planning on making a part two? and what inspired you to become a writer?
I write stories and poems, and I also have a hard time dealing with writer’s block.
Also sometimes I wonder If I’m putting in enough detail, how do you make sure?
When I write I’ll keep up the story for awhile, and then all of the sudden I just don’t feel like writing, like I’m not inspired enough, any ideas?
I want to be an author, or maybe a journalist, or a magazine editor when I grow up, so your answers would help me greatly.
Paras, A troubled writer.
I read your book “Nothing but the Truth” and I dont quite understand the ending. Why does “Phillip” cry at the end of the book and say he doesnt know the words to the star spangled banner-when in the book (or maybe I’m mistaken) it seems as though he knows the words. So if you could fill me in, that would be great.
Dear Mr Avi,
I have read your book Midnight Magic. It was great. I was just wondering, do you read any books or watch any shows that give you ideas to write these books? What inspires you? When you get writers block what do you do? As an aspiring author i would love to know.
Hey Mr. Avi,
This is James form Mr. Moshe’s class and I was wondering how you came to write “Nothing but the Truth”? Did you have a past experience with that or did your friend’s child have that proble, or are you just talented like that. I liked that book and to me I found it funny because of the way it ended. That book really got my attention( and most books don’t do that). But anyway these are some questions I wanted to ask you. I might have some more later in the story!
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Your response would be much appreciated.
Your writing style is quite extraordinary! I have read Crispin and that is now my favorite book(for now) because i am also reading the book without words and nothing but the truth> So far i am mesmerized by how you can write such capturing stories. So I was wondering:
do you get writers block often?
How many total books have you wrote?
who is your idol?
Also I want to become a writer and how do you start the story how does it all begin?
A wondering mind, Jeff
I just wanted to say that I read your book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, and I thought that it was great. You are an awesome writer and I can’t wait to finish reading The Book Without Words. I just wanted to know, what inspires you to write your books? That’s all I have for right now. Thank you.